Consultant: Nine-block section in inner-city Ogden has major blight problem

Tuesday , April 19, 2016 - 6:00 AM

A vacant, blighted home on 25th Street near
Monroe Boulevard in Ogden. Monday, April 18, 2016.

A vacant, blighted home on 25th Street near Monroe Boulevard in Ogden. Monday, April 18, 2016.
Image by: (MITCH SHAW/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN — An independent consultant has found that a nine-block section of inner-city Ogden has a major blight problem and should qualify for the city’s urban renewal program.

In October, Ogden city hired business management consultant Bonneville Research to examine blight conditions in an east-central area of the city extending from 23rd to 26th streets between Madison and Jackson avenues. The city commissioned the study to determine whether the area, which is being called the “Oak Den” study area, had enough decay to be designated as an urban renewal area.

In a letter sent to the city on March 14, Bonneville Research indicated the nine-block Oak Den area has a significant blight problem.

The letter, which is signed by Bonneville Research President Jonathan Springmeyer, says the present condition of the area “impairs the sound growth of the municipality,” “constitutes an economic liability” and is “detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare.”

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said the study’s findings are staggering. Of the 413 properties evaluated in the area, 328, or 79 percent of them, were dilapidated. More than 80 percent of the properties failed to meet building, safety, health or fire code requirements and 88 percent had unsanitary or unsafe conditions.

The study found that there are just over 84 acres in the area, but 23 percent of that acreage is vacant or abandoned. The study also found that criminal activity is 216 percent higher than comparable areas that don’t have as much blight.

Caldwell said the east-central area of Ogden has long been a focal point of the city. The mayor said his administration wants to encourage owner-occupancy in the area, saying home ownership not only creates individual investments in the city, but it also allows those stuck in inter-generational poverty to build equity.  

Ogden city plans to hold a public hearing on the matter during a city Redevelopment Agency meeting at 6 p.m. May 24 at the Ogden Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd. At the hearing, findings from the study will be presented and residents and property owners in the study area will be allowed to make public comment.

The city sent notification letters to property owners and other stakeholders on March 22.

The city’s redevelopment agency board, made up of members of the city council, will likely vote whether or not to establish the area as an urban renewal area, or URA, on the same night.


According to city council documents, a URA is the most rigorous of the three types of redevelopment programs the city performs. Unlike economic or community development areas, a URA allows for eminent domain under certain circumstances.

But before the program can be established, state code requires that the city complete a parcel-by-parcel blight study of the area. The code also requires certain criteria to be met — like 50 percent of the private property and 66 percent of total private acreage must be blighted — before a URA can be set up.  

State law also establishes parameters on what constitutes blight — greenfield or agricultural parcels don’t qualify, but urban properties do.

Once a URA is established, it allows the city to apply for federal grants to complete housing projects and to offer tax incentives to the developers that build there.

Caldwell said the Oak Den Bungalow subdivision, which was built on a blighted patch of land in the project area in 2014, is an example of how neighborhoods can be transformed. The subdivision was funded by Utah Housing Corp., Community Development Block Grant funds and Ogden City capital improvement project funds. 

Ogden City owns and developed the subdivision. The project filled a years-vacant, mid-block area between Jackson and Quincy avenues and 23rd and 24th streets with new homes.

“That area has been completely revitalized,” he said. “It’s an example of what we can do.”

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at or at 801-625-4233. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook.


Jonathan Springmeyer
Jonathan Springmeyer, President

One of the questions we get asked frequently!

 Just what is it that you guy's do?

 Well, the short answer is that we do Economic Development and most of our clients are either a State or Local Government or a Private Business looking to grow.

Why is Economic Development Important?

The reasons are quite basic.  Economic development helps pay the bills.  A balanced, healthy economy is essential for community's well-being.  At its heart, economic development is about building healthy economies in order to build healthy communities.

What is Your Community's Economic Development Plan?

How well is your community doing and what does it need to support businesses located here and target new business recruits.

Does your community have a plan to:

  • Support large and small businesses here now?
  • Recruit new businesses to provide good paying jobs for its citizens?

Does your community have a plan to:

  • Maintain and improve infrastructure?
  • Grow its knowledge-based economy?

Does your community have a plan to ensure that future growth is consistent with maintaining quality of life?
Does your community have a long-term economic development vision and a plan to safeguard against projects that may be detrimental to that vision?
Does Your Community Have a Diverse Economic Base?

A diversified economic base helps expand the local economy and reduces a community's vulnerability to a single business sector.
Could your community recover from a dramatic shift in retail market conditions?
Could your community recover from the loss of a major employer?

Bonneville Research - Who we are and what we believe

Bonneville Research is a Utah based team of dedicated professionals committed to economic development through a holistic approach to community building.  We believe it is the connections between seemingly disparate segments of a community that form the strength and define the fabric of a neighborhood and a region.

Bonneville Research was not formed as a concept, but was born of necessity - the only way to realistically address these community issues of connectedness and diversity is through a concerted effort that involves all of the major, and minor, aspects of an economically viable and implementable projects.

Generally, communities have all the ingredients to become strong and attractive communities but this potential all too often remains dormant because of plans that have no real economic basis or community support.

Bonneville Research employs a proven process which includes planning, vision, skills building, and exclusionary neighborhood participation to realize neighborhood's full potential.

Bonneville Research believes in involving professionals who are passionate about their areas of expertise and believe that a truly sustainable community necessitates cross-disciplinary planning and communication.

This innovative teamwork approach is built upon flexible connections between the disciplines - each being responsive to changes made within another as the process advances. This integration of expertise is a defining characteristic of Bonneville Research, facilitating a comprehensive process that results in sustainable solutions.

Research, community building, conflict resolution, planning, marketing, design, infrastructure - are seamlessly coordinated to deal effectively with real-life issues.

Inclusiveness must be a proactive part of the process and may require skill building in the areas of cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution. Otherwise, the under-represented will not identify with the community, and those that are driving development will miss out on the significant contributions, both economic and social, that characterizes an inclusive neighborhood.

By taking a holistic approach all members are given voice and empowered to discover their own personal identity which becomes part of the community identity, strengthening, enlivening, and contributing - true community members and valued citizens.

It has become apparent to city dwellers throughout America that good cities are made, they just don't happen, and need a coordinated plan that includes the most important part of a community, its people, all that will be created is a façade that will not wear well over time.  Bonneville Research does not come in and define a community; we assist a community in finding its own identity.

If any of this sounds like something we can help with, please give us a call!

Jon Springmeyer

Bob Springmeyer


Jon Springmeyer, President
Jon Springmeyer, President, Bonneville ResearchSeptember 24, 2014:

It is my pleasure to announce that Jon Springmeyer has been promoted to President of Bonneville Research.
Jon has over 8 years of combined service as Vice President and Analyst at the regional economic and planning consulting firm. He brings with him over 20 of years of experience in operational management of leading public and private firms.
In his new role as President, Jon will oversee the firm's consulting services to state and local governments including economic analysis for real estate development, public-policy analysis, tourism and economic development.
Since its founding in 1976, Bonneville Research has assisted state and local governments find workable solutions and to establish quality and sustainable public policy. We often work with private developers and public agencies in assessing the future economics and outcomes of real estate projects, economic development plans and evaluate opportunities for public/private partnerships.
Bonneville Research offers a diverse array of economic analysis and tools to answer complex problems.
Jon will continue to work closely with company founder, Bob Springmeyer, who has moved to the position of Chairman.
Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Jon in his new role.

Robert Springmeyer, Chairman
Jonathan Springmeyer, President
Bonneville Research
170 South Main Street #775
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
801-746-5706 Off
801-755-6097 Cell

Summit Series • Powder Mountain purchase a done deal at a $40 million price tag.


By Cathy McKitrick,The Salt Lake Tribune. Published: May 10, 2013 09:44PM


Ogden • The Weber County Commission approved a consulting contract Tuesday with Bonneville Research to develop a project area plan and budget that could allow future tax revenues to flow back into the Summit Mountain Holding Group’s Powder Mountain development.

The uA skier at Powder Mountain the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. Courtesy Matt Baydala | Ski Utah nanimous vote of the three-member commission for the $12,800 contract allows the Salt Lake City-based firm to conduct a financial analysis of the ambitious project that could infuse new life, cash and change into the rural Ogden Valley communities of Eden, Liberty and Huntsville.

According to Douglas Larsen, executive director of Weber Economic Development Partnership, Bonneville Research will help determine the most appropriate use of tax increment, a term referring to the increase in property tax revenue that flows from an area as a result of new development.

Once established as a Community Development Area or CDA, part or all of that tax increment could flow back into the project for a yet-to-be determined period of up to 25 years, contingent on approval from taxing entities such as the county and school district that would agree to forego their share of that increase for the designated time.

Larsen said that Bonneville Research’s work should conclude by July and public meetings will then be held to allow discussion of the proposed CDA.

“We look at the Summit project as the right development at the right time,” Larsen said Tuesday, applauding the group’s fresh vision as “environmentally intelligent.”

Summit’s plans include up to 500 single-family homes and a village of similar scale on the 7,000-acre mountain — far less than previous developers have envisioned for the area, but more in line with what the Ogden Valley might be able to handle in terms of its natural resources and paved roadways.

In late March, the County approved a $22.5 million special assessment bond to fund public roads, water and sewer for the project’s initial phase of 154 homes. Debt service for that 20-year bond is to be paid from homeowners within the development.

Tax increment from the CDA can provide an additional layer of security for bond debt service should the need arise, Larsen said, while funding gas and electrical lines and fiber optic cables for future phases, which may include a mountaintop event center and boutique hotels. As well, a small percentage of the tax increment revenues could be directed to assets that would help further sustain the development, Larsen added.

The Summit Series team announced Tuesday that it had finalized its $40 million purchase of Powder Mountain.

Reached Tuesday afternoon, Summit Partner Thayer Walker said that the 40-plus investors behind the purchase were founding members of the company who would one day own homes on the mountain. That well-heeled group includes PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Tim Ferriss — author of The 4-Hour Work Week , and Elle Magazine founder Sunny Bates.

The ski resort’s heritage and feel will remain intact, Walker said, with development occurring mostly on the mountain’s south side. While a mountaintop conference center is part of Summit’s future plans, Walker said its tone and scale will be “more like retreat space than Salt Palace.”


By Marjorie Clark on April 16, 2013, Daily Utah Chronicle


Jon Springmeyer from Bonneville Research delivers findings from a study on the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control at a Hinckley Forum on Monday.
Marjorie Clark / The Daily Utah Chronicle

Some might say Monday morning is too early to talk about liquor laws, licenses and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, but the Hinckley Institute of Politics and Bonneville Research disagree as they hosted the event “Working in Partnership with Utah State Government.”

“Say what you want to say about the state being in the liquor business,” said Jon Springmeyer, vice president of Bonneville Research. “You can say it’s a really good idea or a bad idea, but I think we can all agree that if you’re going to do it, do it well. Do it right. And that’s not happening.”

Bonneville Research was hired by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to research its operations and create an enhanced business plan. The research company completed an investigation of the DABC, including state versus package stores, maintaining the status quo and how to move the commission forward to adjust with the times.

The company made recommendations to the department, but during their six-month study, the heads of the department changed so the people who commissioned the study were not there to hear the findings. As a result, few recommendations have been implemented, Springmeyer said.

Included in the company’s findings was that all the state liquor stores made money. Despite the size of the store, inventory and employee turnover and location, each store made at least a $200,000 profit.

“The [Alcoholic Beverage Control] Commission spends almost all of its time hearing pleas and requests for liquor licenses,” Springmeyer said. “Steady parade of — for the most part — new business owners who are putting themselves at the mercy of this liquor commission.”

Research also found there was a “significant lack” of retail experience on the commission board. The board was looking at selling alcohol as a state agency and something that should be controlled instead of a $3.2 million annual retail business, he said.

Bob Springmeyer, president of Bonneville Research, said revenue appears to be on the climb.

“We don’t know whether people are drinking more or more people are drinking,” Bob Springmeyer said.

The worst store, in a bad location with bad parking, located on Park City’s Main Street, made a profit of $232,000, Jon Springmeyer said.

Utah and Pennsylvania are the only two states that have complete control over liquor sales. Bob Springmeyer mentioned changes that have occurred during the years to Utah’s liquor laws as hope for change in the future.

“We find that we are the bridge between the public side and the private side and help facilitate those communications,” Bob Springmeyer said.

The liquor board has adopted committees to deal with policy issues since the report was completed. It was not one of their specific recommendations, but Bob Springmeyer said it is a step in the right direction.

“There is a right-hand, left-hand disconnect between the executive branch and the legislative branch on what to do,” Springmeyer said. “Why are we involved? Because there’s money to be made.”

He said there is also some culture and history involved with the situation.

“Good public policy would be to encourage those who want to consume alcohol to do it at home or at a restaurant with food,” Bob Springmeyer said. “It would reduce drunk driving and abuse. This is not without some values involved.”

Contact Marjorie Clark at

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